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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gravity - Movie Review



Alfonso Cuarón has created a groundbreaking theatrical experience called Gravity that demands to be viewed in 3D on the largest movie screens available. The movie was written by Mr. Cuarón along with his brother Jonás Cuarón and features outstanding performances from both Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.


Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a medical engineer who has been sent up into space on a mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope. Her six months of astronaut training has only prepared her to handle the basics of space travel so it is up to veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) to make sure everything goes as planned. Kowalski is clearly at ease in space and exhibits a calm, not quite cocky sort of confidence that helps to keep the mood light for the benefit of his more stressed out and inexperienced companion.


Just as their mission is wrapping up, a disaster happens that causes multiple orbiting satellites around the world to explode, crash into each other, and basically turn into a lethal arsenal of high speed shrapnel that threatens to put an abrupt end to the Hubble mission if the crew is unable to make a quick escape to safety.

As the crew scrambles to pack up and return to the shuttle, the barrage of flying debris begins its deadly assault on their position and, when its all said and done, very little remains and the remaining mission team members must find a way to survive a disaster that could leave them stranded in the cold, zero gravity environment knows as outer space.


One of the main things I absolutely love about Alfonso Cuarón as a director is how he utilizes extended take scenes to near perfection for added drama, impact, and intensity in his movies. If you've seen Children of Men, then you know exactly what I mean as there are two extended take scenes in that movie that are unbelievable in how well they are executed. Gravity contains several extended takes that, in some cases, enhance the beauty and power of the bigger, effects-heavy scenes and, in others, allow the actors more freedom to portray the development of emotion during some really intense and heart wrenching situations. To get an idea of what I'm talking about here, check out how long it takes from the very beginning of the movie to when the first cut takes place (Yes, I do pay attention to this kind of stuff).


Speaking of the actors, this is pretty much a two person show for most of the movie and I have to say that Sandra Bullock absolutely knocks this one out of the park and should be in line for at least a best actress nomination when the time comes. She displays a range and power I don't believe I have ever seen from her before and you can really tell that she was completely invested in giving everything she had to this role.


While Clooney may not deserve the same level of praise, he is still a more than capable actor and manages to give a performance that is pitch perfect both as a complement to Bullock and as a counterbalance to the elements of chaos and danger that loom as a constant threat. Only a true movie star like Clooney could muster the ability to exude such undeniable charm and personality all while wrapped up in an overly bulky astronaut suit and helmet.


As far as the special effects for this movie are concerned, I will be shocked if Gravity doesn't take home multiple awards in the technical achievement categories. Not once during the entire 90 minute run time do you ever think about how something looks computer generated or more cartoon than lifelike. Every single detail from exploding pieces of shuttle and space station to space suits and jet packs is absolutely spot on. I honestly could never tell if something, or someone, was filmed as a practical or CGI effect. This really helped to immerse the audience into what is also a wonderful story without the brain having to constantly be questioning if what its seeing is legit or not.

Want to know more about the making of this extraordinary film?
Check out this great article from Space.com.


Honestly, I fell in love with this movie after the first five minutes and, as the story played out, it just got better and better. Visually, Gravity is absolutely stunning and watching it in 3D is a movie going experience you do not want to miss out on. Seriously, the filmmakers went to great lengths to give you a completely immersive experience and, in this case, dishing out a couple extra bucks is more than worth it to see the movie in all of its intended and glorious detail.

Lets see here...brilliant director, great actors, dramatic and inspiring story, and a visual feast that will make your eyeballs explode from how awesome it all is...yeah, go see Gravity right now.


 


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